If you have ever considered the idea of growing your own fruits and vegetables, having an organic garden or planting a vegetable in a pot on your terrace or balcony, surely what you have been recommended in the seed store is that you start with a tomato.
This is because they are easy-care plants that tend to adapt to any land where they are planted easily, and that withstand well arid or slightly humid climates.
However, personal cultivation without chemicals, although much more natural, can lead to the appearance of pests.
We tell you how to deal with pests in tomato plants.
The most common vegetable
The tomato is a fruit vegetable that belongs to the botanical family of Solanaceae. Its scientific name is Solanum Lycopersicum, and it is native to South America, and it is cultivated for the fruit that is obtained, the tomato since it is consumed worldwide in its different forms, whether natural, crushed, fried, or as Ingredient of a delicious sauce.
The plant has an erect stem that can reach more than 2 meters high. His arrival in Europe could come from the hand of the Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortés, who would have introduced the fruit directly from Tenochtitlán (present-day Mexico City).
As a curiosity, tomato is the most important horticultural product in the world, whose production exceeds 90 million tons worldwide.
Its fruit is thick and fleshy, and there are many varieties of tomatoes (pear, cherry, raff …) that are grown throughout the year in countries like Spain, due to the climate and the widespread use of greenhouses.
Tomatoes are also an indispensable product in the daily diet due to their high nutritional value since the fruit is rich in mineral salts and vitamins.
The cultivation of tomatoes is simple and inexpensive, but it is true that the tomato is a plant that has many different pests. Insects are called by the smell of the plant and its fruit and can leave you without harvest.
Their plagues are similar in the different places of the world where they are cultivated, and on some occasions, they have supposed very important losses to the farmers who cultivate them in extensive agriculture.
In fact, in recent years, genetic engineering is focused on making tomato species more resistant to pests.
Although there are many types, we have selected the different types of pests most common in tomatoes, so you know a little more about them and how to eliminate them.
The best known is the aphid, very dangerous for the plant because it feeds on its sap and leaves it defenseless and lifeless. In addition, it spreads very quickly.
The best way to deal with it is with an infusion of garlic. You can spray it as a spray. As for the plants, the marigold attracts it, so if the plants in an area a little far from the garden, they would prefer to go to it rather than the tomato.
The opposite effect is basil and wormwood, plants that repel the aphid.
The red spider appears before the shortage of humidity and adores high temperatures, making it an almost certain enemy in the long periods of summer drought.
Basil also repels this insect, as well as garlic, potash soap, or white earth or diatomaceous earth, a white fossil that is used as fertilizer.
The whitefly is another common pest of tomato and makes the plant sick. Its natural predator is the wasp intarsia Formosa.
Complete preparation is one of the most common natural remedies.
The thrips are perhaps less known, but also do great harm to the passing on tomato virus. They are elongated insects that measure about 2 millimeters and have a brown color.
They damage the plant by sucking its material. However, they have a known weakness, and they are very attracted to the blue color, so there are some adhesive traps of this color, as well as homemade traps made with bottles of the same color.
The butterfly caterpillars feed directly from it, so the damage they cause is pretty big. Their main enemy is ginger, so you can use ginger tea against them.
Finally, the tomato moth. Both adults and larvae penetrate the leaves to feed on them. Remember also that your natural predator is any type of bird.
The neem oil is also effective against it.
These are some of the most effective natural remedies to deal with tomato pests, but there are also chemical pesticides that are available to gardeners and certified farmers in different establishments such as hardware stores, agricultural products stores, and phytosanitary stores.
However, you have to take into account that its use is restricted in many countries due to its toxicity and that its indiscriminate use is ending with species of insects as beneficial as the bee, responsible for the pollination of flowers.
How to prevent pests
If you don’t have them yet, you should know that, in all likelihood, pests will appear sooner or later. That is why it is very important that you work on its prevention since the best defense is always a good attack. Heed these tips to prevent the appearance of pests that annoy your tomato crops.
- What other fruit do you want to plant? The plantations with various types of crops are less prone to pests. Hundreds of rows of tomatoes alone are a safe bet in the game of these insects. Try to interleave crops or make them in small parts of the total area to mislead the bugs.
- Using chemical fertilizers for the soil is not a good idea since, in the long run, you will end up impoverishing the soil that feeds your tomato plants. Use the ecological ones ( worm hummus, for example), or if the soil is good enough, you won’t need to use any.
- The crop rotation is also an excellent idea to avoid pests. Once the plants die, grow the new ones were last season there was another type of crop, and bring that one where you had planted the tomato plants.
- The irrigation system is very important. If you water the water when watering with a hose, you will be more likely to call the insects in rows. It better uses the drip irrigation system, which doses the water and also saves this precious asset.
In case the pests persist, or you have a large number of plants, you better hire the services of an expert. However, in-home farming, it is very easy to avoid the arrival of pests if you introduce some changes in your cultivation system.